Monday, March 26, 2018

Magical Mystery - The Big Reveal

Related image
The mystery:  
How two different blocks can be made from the same pieces.

The magic:
The multitude of setting options.

The Bonus:
A third block.
Actually, youall came up with a lot more!

I hope those who played along have enjoyed the exercise.  It was fun to see your guesses along the way.  A couple of you were close in expecting there to be positive and negative results.  So without further ado ... ta-dah:


Each block is constructed from four units:  Two rail units, one large triangle square, and one 4-patch unit.  Pay close attention to the orientation of the triangle squares. Assemble like a 4-patch, sewing a rail unit to the 4-patch unit and the large triangle square to a rail unit. Press toward the rail units. Spin the final seam (or press open).

Block A

Block A
For Block A be sure to use the rail units that are pressed toward the light fabric.  If you spun the seams in Clue 5 as recommended, these rail units should nest with the 4-patch seams.  And just like the construction of the 4-patch units, as a double-check, you should never be sewing the same fabric together.

Block B:

Block B
Again, pay close attention to the orientation of the triangle squares. Assemble like a 4-patch, sewing a rail unit to the 4-patch unit and the large triangle square to a rail unit. Press toward the rail units.  Spin the final seam.

Why spin the seams?  When you spin the seams of a 4-patch construction, you can orient your block in any direction and it will automatically nest with the next block.  You're skeptical, I know.  But try it, it works!  I will say that, depending on how you assemble the blocks into a quilt, the seams where rail units meet end-to-end may not nest.  In that case I flip the seam at the intersection and press the seam into submission.

As I said before, you could make a quilt from all A blocks or all B blocks, but the more interesting construction comes from alternating A and B.  Because of the strong diagonal of the blocks, you can do just about anything you could do with a plain HST or a light/dark log cabin block.

For example, Furrows (or is this Sunshine and Shadows?):

Or how about Barn Raising:

Shift and twist a few blocks and you get this:

Or the reverse:

Check back tomorrow to see a finished quilt (not this one, though) and learn about the bonus block.

To give credit where credit is due, this mystery was inspired by a block called Hopkins Square in Judy Hopkins' book 501 Rotary-Cut Quilt  Blocks (Martingale & Company, Woodinville, WA, 2008).

And if you want more setting inspiration, check out Judy Martin’s Log Cabin Quilt Book  (Crosley-Griffith Pub. Co., Inc., Grinnell, IA, 2007).

I hope you had fun and I would love, Love, LOVE to see pictures of any finished quilts.


  1. I love these blocks, Libby! I’m not sure which one I like best. It will be fun to make more blocks and see the whole quilt design. Thanks again for the fun!

  2. GREat blocks. I’ve seen a lot of others out there that are equally as wonderful.

  3. I really like all the layout possibilities! I'd better get sewing!

  4. Oh! I really like that last option!! Off to see if I can get my blocks sewn up tonight...

  5. Wow, that is an awesome quilt block. And each variation you’ve shown is striking. I foresee some interesting quilts (even RSC quilts!) in the near future!

  6. Thanks Libby -- a fun solution! I'll assemble some of my units today and try out the A/B arrangements. Thank you again :)

  7. Oh my many choices for layout. I'll be dithering forever!
    Thanks for the mystery. It was fun. Now I need to get the blocks together so they don't become a UFO!

  8. Lots of fun options with those blocks. It's been fun to watch all the clues and everyone's versions.


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